7 Must-have tools for creating elearning videos

7 Must-Have Tools for Creating eLearning Videos


When I prepared an eLearning course about C programming last year, I had the idea to compile a list of tools I use regularly for creating my eLearning videos.

When I prepared an eLearning course about C programming for Udemy last year, I had the idea to compile a list of tools I use regularly for creating my eLearning videos. Hopefully this list is useful for teachers, educators, instructors, online tutors, corporate trainers or anyone who just wants to start producing eLearning videos. Not all applications are free to use. Some cost a small amount of money. However, the programs are worth their price.

Screen Recording: OBS Studio

Logo of screen recording software OBS

OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) studio is a great software for screen recording, screen casting and of course live video streaming. The software is free and open-source and is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. It is very popular in the streaming community and contains presets for popular broadcasting websites such as Youtube Live, Twitch.tv, Facebook Live, Instagram Live Video, Vimeo Live and many more.

OBS studio screenshot showing scenes and transitions.

With OBS studio you can easily create scenes, video overlays and transitions. Capturing different screens and other audio/video signals is very easy. The software comes with multiple video sources filters and an easy to use audio mixer, allowing you to use different audio tracks in your video. It is also customizable through themes.

The wide range of functions makes the software the perfect tool for recording eLearning videos.

Screenshot Tool: Greenshot

Greenshot Logo. Software for takking screenshots

Greenshot is great tool to quickly take and process screenshots. It is free and open-source software, available for Windows and macOS. It is possible to create full and partial screenshots either by using a user-defined rectangle region of the screen or by selecting a windows from a list of open applications. The screenshot can be annotated and edited before exporting it to various formats, including 3rd party destinations.

Greenshot: dialog window with export options
Greenshot’s exporting options

Greenshot comes with a build-in image editor which allows annotations, highlightings or obfuscations and drawing simple shapes. The strengths of Greenshot are its ease of use and the large number of exporting options which makes it a prefect screenshot tool for eLearning videos.

Mouse Toolbox for eLearning: PointerFocus

PointerFocus is a Windows-only application that lets the mouse pointer shine in a new light. A license costs $12.5 USD and includes one year of free upgrades. The application is designed for presenters, trainers and teachers who want to highlight their mouse pointer. All features can be activated or disabled using keyboard shortcuts which comes in very handy while recording an eLearning video.

PointerFocus Features

  • – highlight cursor
  • – mouse spotlight
  • – keystroke visualization
  • – magnifier
  • – on-screen annotation

PointerFocus Feature Video

Screen Marker: Epic Pen

Epic Pen is a free Windows-only screen marker and desktop annotation tool with a simple interface. It is easy to use and supports a highlighter and a pen mode for screen annotations. It also features a simple but handy screenshot functionality and supports custom hotkeys which is very convenient during video recording. A neat feature of Epic Pen is, that it is compatible with Wacom devices and therefore offers pen pressure support in conjunction with a tablet.

Epic Pen: Screen marker and desktop annotation tool
Drawing on screen with Epic Pen
Epic Pen: Custom hotkeys
Custom hotkeys

Epic Pen is an awesome tool for drawing on screen, making quick annotations and highlighting text. There is a PRO versions available ($25.00 USD per computer) which includes an expanded toolkit.

Media Player: VLC media player

VLC logo
VLC media player

VLC media player is a free and open-source cross-platform media player software with build-in streaming server capabilities. The software is available for a variety of systems, including Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and iOS. VLC supports many audio and video compression methods. Besides playing and streaming media, VLC also supports the transcoding of multimedia files. It is also capable of playing corrupted files to a certain extend. VLC is the swiss army knife for video playback and is therefore a must-have tool in the process of creating eLearning videos.

vlc media player playing blenders cosmos laundromat
  • Plays everything – Files, Discs, Webcams, Devices and Streams
  • Fast – can use hardware decoding
  • Runs on all platforms
  • Completely Free – no spyware, no ads and no user tracking.

Learn more about VLC’s features.

A Web Whiteboard: AWW

A Web Whiteboard

AWW (A Web Whiteboard) is an easy-to-use, browser-based, touch-friendly online whiteboarding tool. It is used by eLearning teachers, online tutors and businesses. The range of functions includes pens and markers as well as geometric shapes such as rectangles or circles. Pricing starts at $9 USD per month for teachers however, there is a free plan available. It has a pagination function hence it’s easy to switch back and forth between whiteboards and create new ones. It is also possible to embed AWW whiteboards into websites or to invite others to collaborate.

The best way to use it while recording videos, is in full screen mode on a separate display with its own scene assigned in OBS studio.

Audio/Video Transcription: Google Docs

Audio transcription processes are complicated, lengthy and error-prone. Today, however, they are an integral part of a good eLearning experience. There are many reasons to perform audio transcriptions for eLearning videos. For example, transcripts are easier to index by search engines, increasing your opportunities to rank for long-tail keywords. Also, with a transcript as a starting point, it is possible to add subtitles in foreign languages to your video, which can increase the overall reach of your video.

There are many professional audio transcription tools available but for starters, the speech to text functionality of Google Docs my be an good option. It is easy to use and is even available for languages other than English.

Automatically transcribe videos for free using Google Docs
If the ‘voice typing‘ menu in Google Docs is grayed out, read this article on the Google support forum: Voice Typing – greyed out
If it still doesn’t work, the use of this feature may be restricted in your region or for your selected language. Try to use the voice recognition of your smartphone with an app like Microsoft OneNote instead.

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Pascal Werkl
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Pascal Werkl
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  • Great list, thank you Pascal

    i’ll be checking out Epic Pen and Mouse Pointer for teaching on screen

    (btw, Donationcoder does a great Screenshot Captor, i chose that over Greenshot some time ago)

    cheers, mc

Pascal Werkl

Pascal Werkl

Pascal is a computer scientist/software engineer and digital marketer by profession with over 15 years of experience in the industry.